Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Week on Skylark

Had a great week down at the boat. Spent a lot of time with Zachary doing the things we like best...relaxing. Between school, sports, friends, chores and homework, Zachary stays really busy through-out the week as you can imagine. So when I come to visit, we like to slow it down a bit and relax whenever we can. What does that entail? Watching movies, going to the book store, eating of course and playing video games. It's wonderful to have this time together, so I will certainly enjoy it while I still can.

I did get some minor things on the boat accomplished as well...slow but sure. The first thing I had to take care of right away was a digital antenna for the TV. I know, not the most nautical of tasks, but I had to be ready for the playoffs on Sunday. A quick trip to Walmart and 20 bucks later, I was set. After futzing with it for a while, I let the TV do it's thing and search for the HD broadcasts that took over for VHF/UHF about a year ago. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it found 17 channels. After taking a look at what I got, I was even more pleasantly surprised to see that I had FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and a few other "cable-like" channels all in clear, HD quality. We are less that 20 miles from downtown Jacksonville straight down the river, so I am sure that helped quite a bit. Anyway, the antenna was a success and the games were on Sunday. I was able to set-up some cushions in the cockpit so I could get some sun while watching the game. Hey, things could be worse. :)

Now that we were covered on the TV front, it was time to move to some lighting. I installed a 23 inch florescent track light in the galley right under the chainplate backing plate. It fit perfectly and gives off just the right amount of light. I am not a big fan of using the house lights in port, especially since mine are from the middle ages and draw a ton of power from the batteries. Changing them all out to LEDs are on the to-do list, but that's not happening soon. Good addition all in all as I was using a clip on work lamp and it always fell off. As well, I installed 2 battery powered LED strips lights in the state room for reading or finding your way to the head at night. Easy addition and they work well.

I was also able to delve into some of those unseen nooks and crannies for some cleaning and sludge removal. No matter where you look, there is always some mold or mildew to get rid of. The fun and exciting details of boat ownership. I have found a product that helps keep the mold to a minimum while I am away from the boat. Since it lasts a month before needing replacement, it works perfect for me. And for only 2 bucks a bucket, it pays for itself. Since I am not around to empty it, I poke a few holes in the bottom of the bucket and place it in the sink when I leave. This way, instead of the water building up in the bucket, it goes down the drain. It's only about 4 inches in diameter by maybe 5 inches high, so you can get a bunch and easily store them. Very worth it in my opinion.

So the big story of the week however was running into a new member at the marina who recently purchased a Catalina 27. Really nice guy and quite helpful all around. Anyway, while walking to the car, he mentioned he was on his way to the Sailor Exchange in St. Augustine to sell a couple of winches a friend had given to him. If you are not familiar with Sailors Exchange and you live close to the St. Augustine area, check it out. It's basically a huge sailing stuff garage sale and you can get lucky.
As you all know, I have been keeping an eye out for a set of used winches to replace the ones that broke on the trip down. Obviously I had to take a look. Needless to say, I was really happy to see a pair or Barlow 25, 2 speed, self tailing winches laying in the back of the truck. We took them down to Skylark and measured the space where they would go. They were perfect. New, they would run close to $1000 a piece, but I was able to get both of them for a few hundred bucks. A perfect ending to a great week. Winch replacement was on the short list, so I can actually say I checked off a biggie.

So for now, I am still trying to figure out the next steps with the engine. Fix what I have, a 42 year old gas Atomic 4, replace with a new Atomic 4 or change over to diesel. We all know what the critics think about gas engines on a boat. There are tons of people that swear by the old A4s and time has shown they are basically bullet proof. Replacing with a new one would save money as it would basically be a simple switch reusing all the parts, wiring, etc. that's there, but I am leaning towards a diesel. That's the dilemma of the day. I will keep you updated.

Oh yes, one more thing. When I was in North Carolina, I had State Farm insurance covering hull and liability on Skylark. As a lot of boaters know or have heard, it is very difficult to find insurance in Florida. As so was the case with Skylark. State Farm does not accept new policies in Florida at this time and most of the national companies don't either. I did find one though that would, so I thought I would post in case any of you were looking. Progressive took the policy without question and the rates, for Florida anyway, were very reasonable. Take a look

Thanks again for all of your comments. I do appreciate you following along and I promise to have more interesting posts once the spring comes along. ) Here are a few pics for you folks out in the cold "middle states." Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment